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Covid-19 and law firms: new measures introduced by the UK government to help businesses.

The UK government has introduced new support measures for businesses. Below is a brief run-down of the available assistance together with links to the appropriate government websites.

Things are moving quickly. However, we believe all information is correct as of 23 March 2020. Please check the appropriate government websites for a complete picture.

Wage support – the coronavirus job retention scheme.

(More info)

  • All UK employers can access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that otherwise would have been laid off during this crisis.
  • To access this support, employers must:
    • Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’ and notify employees of this change (changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law).
    • Submit information to HMRC about the employees who have been furloughed through a new online portal.
  • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers’ wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
  • SMEs (with fewer than 250 employees) may also be entitled to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for sickness absence due to COVID-19.

HMRC help with tax bills.

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  • The UK Government has deferred VAT payments for 3 months for all UK businesses. The offer is automatic with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers have until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year for payment of any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. The government will pay VAT refunds and reclaims during this period as normal.
  • For the self-employed, Income Tax payments due on 31 July 2020 will be deferred to 31 January 2021. This is an automatic deferment – no application needed.

Business rates relief.

  • All Scottish retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will get 100% rates relief (for occupied properties).
  • All non-domestic properties in Scotland will receive a 1.6% rates relief.
  • For information on business rates relief in England and Wales, see the UK Government website.

Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme.

(More info)

  • A new temporary scheme is commencing the week beginning 23 March 2020. The British Business Bank will deliver the scheme. It will support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.
  • The scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.
  • The first 6 months of these loans will be interest-free. The Government will cover these payments.
  • Businesses are responsible for repaying 100% of any facility they take out.

Grant aid and other funding.

(More info)

  • Grant funding of £25,000 is available for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. This applies to businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 (England & Wales)/£18,000 (Scotland) and £51,000.
  • Small firms receiving the small business bonus or rural relief will be eligible for a £10,000 grant.

The above list is not exhaustive. There may be other support available for your business. The financial support available for businesses is under continual assessment by the UK and Scottish Governments. Stay up to date with this information on the Scottish Government and UK Government websites.

Covid-19 and law firms: help from LawWare.

Should you need help setting up remote working on your home PCs, please contact our Support Team for details on this page.

If you are a LawWare client with an installed office system and would like to discuss options for moving your systems onto LawCloud to better support home-working, please let us know. LawCloud’s design enables remote working. We have a great deal of experience in migrating staff from office-based systems onto the LawCloud.

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